Nikhil Chauhan

15 February, 2021: The energy & chemical industry is a laggard in digitalization as compared to other industries such as media, banking, retail, insurance, etc. There are some fundamental reasons behind this. The first one is the energy & chemical industry’s capital intensive nature and the fact that operators do not want to fiddle with their multi-billion plants and assets until the digital technologies and solutions are proven, reliable, and demonstrate the clear value of their investments. The other factors are that the energy & chemical plants are complex and driven by many variables which necessitate multiple skills and capabilities to implement a scalable digital solution successfully. 

This blog describes the key attributes of an organization which can successfully implement digital transformation strategies across their plants and assets:

  • At the onset, what organizations need is an executable digital strategy and a roadmap for implementation.
  • Companies should be ready to change their systems and work processes to reflect the digital work to be done viz. short digital implementation cycle, scrum sprint approach of execution, and digital solution subscription or perpetual license fee.
  • Skills and staff are very important to realize the complete value of digital transformation. Organizations need to have four broad levels of skills and associated staff – Big Data and Artificial Intelligence; industry domain expertise such as refining or its specific unit, ethylene cracker etc.; functional domain expertise such as process, maintenance, control system; and finally solution strategizing and formulation capability.
  • The style or the culture also plays a critical role and is primarily driven by the top management. It needs to approve of the digital roadmap and accordingly communicate to their internal and external stakeholders. Consequently, they should be willing to invest for quick success and attractive returns. The organization also needs to be ready for quick fail or pass of any digital technology or solution. In case of success, the solution needs to scale. On the contrary, in case of a failure, the organization needs to learn and try a new concept.
  • Finally, an organization needs to be working within their Shared Values and should talk in one consistent voice to get rid of the silos which helps leverage data, insights, or certain skills across the departments.

Hence, to sum up, it is these attributes that work in cohesion to ensure that an organization succeeds in its digital transformation initiatives and gains a competitive edge.

Nikhil Chauhan

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